This is definitely an album that has caught me by surprise. Since early April 2016, the various songs on the debut album of Crashdïet guitarist Martin Sweet‘s new project Sweet Creature have been slowly getting released. I enjoyed each song but was not overly enamoured by any in particular. There was definitely a more modern element to the songs that was a bit difficult for me to accept.
I still don’t know why but when listening to all of the songs as a whole on Sweet Creature‘s debut album The Devil Knows My Name, it feels like the sum is much greater than its parts. While I was initially not overly impressed with any of the tracks on their own and even didn’t really like the ballad “Away From You” as a stand alone track, listening to all of the songs in one shot is powerful, compelling and makes me go back to this album again and again. In a way, it reminds me of The Beatles‘ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band record in that none of the songs on that latter album really stand out on their own but together, they form this powerful, innovative and ground breaking album. That’s how I feel about the songs on The Devil Knows My Name.
Sweet Creature‘s debut album The Devil Knows My Name feels like the record that Sixx:A.M. have been trying to achieve with little success. The Devil Knows My Name has the modern elements, great melodies, slower verses and catchy choruses but put together in a compelling and inviting manner. Where Sixx:A.M. fall short and alienate a good portion of Mötley Crüe fans by going too far with the modernization, Martin Sweet delivers an album that experiments and dabbles with modern elements but yet that will likely keep and interest the Crashdïet fan base. In a way, The Devil Knows My Name reminds me of those great Alice Cooper albums from back in the early ’70s from Love It To Death onwards where Alice Cooper would constantly reinvent himself from one album to the next sound wise.
I really like that Sweet was able to restrict himself to only nine songs for Sweet Creature‘s debut album since all nine tracks are really good. I had been listening to this album pretty much non-stop before leaving for the Rock N Skull Festival at the end of last month. Upon coming back, I wondered to myself, “Is Sweet Creature‘s album as good as I think it is?” I applied my sure fire test to weed out an album. I played a record from another band that I really really like before putting on Sweet Creature‘s The Devil Knows My Name. All I know is that The Devil Knows My Name hasn’t left my CD player since.
Sweet has delivered one of the best albums of the year with Sweet Creature‘s The Devil Knows My Name. I dare you to listen to the album at least once in its entirety and not get sucked in by its sheer brilliance, great melodies and innovativeness. Listening to Sweet‘s great vocals on The Devil Knows My Name, I can’t help but be puzzled on why Crashdïet have been unable to continue when the lead vocalist that they are apparently and presumably searching for is already in the band.
Self-described by it’s front-man as “old school hard rock with gloomy lyrics and melodies”, Sweet Creature is a brand new hard & heavy quartet that hails from the capital of Sweden (Stockholm) and is made up of musicians from Crashdïet, ToxicRose, This Ending, and Gemini Five. The full-length “The Devil Knows My Name” is this band’s (self-produced) debut offering and it is the end result of a side-project that was first dreamed up back in 2014. Founded and lead by vocalist/guitarist Martin Sweet (Crashdïet), Sweden’s Sweet Creature seemingly exists in a upside down version of our world where Guns N’ Roses, Cheap Trick, Kiss, Mötley Crüe, W.A.S.P., and Enuff Z’Nuff were Jane’s Addiction’s primary sources of influence as they headed into the studio to record “Nothing’s Shocking”. It’s a “crazy” world where the classic hard rock scene of the eighties was more substance than fluff and all the best bands were more concerned about the quality of their music than they were the size of their artificial hair. And finally it is a world where the band Sweet Creature has become a household name. Thankfully that version of reality slipped up BIG TIME and allowed the group to not only escape unharmed, but with “The Devil Knows My Name” in it’s possession! Otherwise how do you explain away an album that is as good as this one is? Seriously though, Sweet Creature’s first album, “The Devil Knows My Name”, is a real gem. In addition to the reflective “Purpose In Life” (my absolute favorite moment on Sweet Creature’s debut!) and the album’s melancholy title track, “The Devil Knows My Name” features such standout numbers as “Time To Move On”, “Away From You”, “Our Moment”, and “Perfect Day”. From the opening moments of “Not Like Others” the lucky listener is treated to a full album’s worth of expertly prepared hard rock numbers that are highly-memorable and custom-built for repeated spins.
As good as “The Devil Knows My Name” is it was difficult at time to believe that Sweet Creature is such a relativity new band. Therefore credit must go to all of the veterans involved with this project. Let’s start with this band’s driving force and move back from there. While primarily known for his stellar guitar work in sleazy/glam rockers Crashdïet, front-man Martin Sweet excels in his new roll as lead singer for Sweet Creature. So much so it ultimately makes you ask the question whether or not that is where he rightfully belongs! Lord knows this Crashdïet shredder sounds like a natural born front-man on “The Devil Knows My Name”, but Martin Sweet isn’t the only voice you’ll hear on Sweet Creatures’ studio debut! Putting in his share of overtime, second guitarist Linus Nirbrant (This Ending, A Canorous Quintet ) not only helped produce this steady-rocking affair, but he also took a turn on the mic!! That means he pulled double duty and helped bring Martin Sweet’s dream to life. With Martin’s brother Michael TxR (ToxicRose) on drums and Tin Star (Gemini Five) on bass this album is that dream in all it’s brilliant colors! Hopefully it is also just the first of what will be many Sweet Creature recordings to come….
Martin Sweet was one of the innovators of the highly popular Swedish band CRASHDIET and many fans are still anticipating their return but in the meantime Sweet has formed a new project called SWEET CREATURE, which he takes over lead vocals and guitar duties. He is not the only shining star in the band as Tin Star of GEMINI FIVE, another band I love, was recruited for bass with Martins’ brother Michael of TOXICROSE handling drums. Rounding out the band is death metal guitarist Linus Nirbrant of THIS ENDING.
Their debut release ‘The Devil Knows My Name’ really doesn’t stray far from the passion of CRASHDIET. With nine tracks SWEET CREATURE can hold the torch that made Swedish sleaze metal a staple for many. The disc starts off with possibly one of the best tracks in “Not Like Others” (it currently has 24,000 views on YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kibiMO95IxI ). The song is pure anthem style and captures the battle cry for the sleaze community to rise up again. “Time To Move On” is another spot on track specially with Martin’s vocals and lead guitar.
The title track “The Devil Knows My Name” has the slicing vibe of CRASHDIET. Just listening I hear DIET all over this tune as chills run up and down my arm. It’s fast-paced, straight forward rock n roll….Martin goes off on the solos as well.
Slowing things down “Purpose In Life” shows a melodic and sentimental side to SWEET CREATURE and shows off the talent that consists in the band.
“Away From You” just shows the magic that Martin brings to the band. The lyrics and the way Martin handles vocals on each track shows pure class. The breaks and elevation bring life to the songs.
“Our Moment” has the harmonies that have always been an essential part of CRASHDIET and SWEET CREATURE holds that same element. It might just be me but do I hear an echo from above cheering “Our Moment” on!
The band speeds it up a little with “Fifteen Minutes” as Michael TXR and Tin Star hook up and show some amazing chops. This is just some tantalizing fun here.
Ending the disc is “Perfect Day” and it ends on a killer note. All I can say about this song besides being good is BACKGROUND vocals! Harmonies and backgrounds vocals can make or break you and SWEET CREATURE has mastered that on ‘The Devil Knows My Name’.
SWEET CREATURE – The Devil Knows My Name
the-devil-knows-my-name“If it wasn’t for bad luck I would have no luck at all”, sang Mötley Crüe on their song “Keep Your Eye On The Money” from Theatre Of Pain (1985) and since Mötley Crüe clearly were an influence on Sweden’s most glam-sleazers Crashdïet, that line really fits to describe Crashdïet’s career. Just when Crashdïet were bound for greatness, Diet’s lead singer Dave Lepard committed suicide in 2006, only one year after their critically acclaimed debut album Rest In Sleaze was released. If it wasn’t enough to lose a dear friend and fellow band member, the band’s career was about to hit shit creek as well. Singer number 2, Olliver Twisted (now Olli Herman, singer in Finish pop-glamsters Reckless Love) only lasted one album (The Unattractive Revolution, 2007) and when they finally found a vocalist that fitted the band like a glove, Simon Cruz, he also quit the band – in 2015 after two really good albums, Generation Wild (2010) and The Savage Playground (2013), just when the band had grown bigger and their future looked really bright. Stuff like this sure is enough for anyone to throw in the towel and put the band to rest. If Crashdïet’s story has come to an end is open for speculation but nothing definite has been said of the matter but what’s clear is that guitar player Martin Sweet have moved on to do his own thing for a while – a thing he has chosen to call Sweet Creature. Martin’s new outfit is something he will run at the same time as his pretty new membership in Swedish glam/punk/metal outfit Sister, whom he joined earlier this year.
In his new band, Martin himself is handling both the lead vocals and the lead guitar and with him on the ride he have brought former Gemini Five bassist and lead vocalist Tin Star (he only plays bass in Sweet Creature), his brother Michael TxR (Toxic Rose) on drums and guitar player Linus Nirbrant (This Ending). Knowing the kind of bands that Sweet, Star and TxR have previously played in, it would be kind of easy to guess what kind of music Sweet Creature will bring to the table but the fact that Nirbrant is housing in a death metal band beside Sweet Creature, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this lot, to be honest – until I heard / saw their debut single / video, that is.
The debut single / video is also the album’s opening track “Not Like Others” and I must admit that the first time I heard it, I thought it was kind of lame. But listening to a song through a computer is a whole different thing than blasting said song through headphones – and it was there it grew on me. The tune is a time machine back to the late 80’s / early 90’s and has the bump and grind like “Pour Some Sugar On Me” wrestled naked with “Cherry Pie” in Guns N’Roses rehearsal room. It has a really groovy and bouncy rhythm and the refrain digs its way right in to the skull and refuses to leave. As a matter of fact, I’m singing it as I write this. I hear a whole lot of Crashdïet – especially echoes of their second album – in “Time To Move On”, but with a punkier vibe. I call it “melodic sleaze” and even though it’s pretty raw and raunchy, it do sport some really catchy hooks – I really dig this one as well. “Burning Midnight Oil” is a chunky little sleaze rocker that kicks up some major dust with some metal/punk riffing, cocky attitude and a really striking chorus that will work like a charm when the party is about to set – killer stuff. The title track’s verses swings on with a base of acoustic guitars and an early 90’s hippie-metal vibe that actually makes me think of Jane’s Addiction. In contrast, the chorus goes in a more sleazy, yet catchy and memorable Crashdïet-like way, which works very well and brings a lot of character to the song – easily one of my favorites on the record. The album’s big power ballad is called “Purpose In Life” and this one just reeks – and I mean that in the best possible way – of 1991. A big chorus, acoustic guitar, lots of keyboards and a chorus catchier than chlamydia. It’s very sticky, but it’s not mawkish by any means. If this song had been released as a single in the golden days of MTV, this album would have gone platinum in no time – brilliant. “Away From You” is really a pop song albeit in a sleaze rock disguise – power pop, if you will. The whole melody is all Crashdiet and the catchiness is palpable – such a great tune. “Our Moment” is raunchy sleaze rocker with a huge pop feel and an addictive chorus. The melody sounds so much like Crashdïet that I suspect it has been around for a while, maybe a left over from their second or third album? It’s a really good song no matter its origin. “Fifteen Minutes” starts off with a pretty big Guns N’ Roses vibe, very attitude laden and the ending goes into late 70’s Rolling Stones territory and the chorus sounds like something Martin has written with a new Crashdïet record in mind. It’s an ok song but it kind of stumbles in the dark somewhat and I can’t get it to stick. “Perfect Day” ends the album and it does so in the best possible way. It’s a straight forward, rough glam rocker that scratches and bites and contains a contagious chorus that sticks right off the bat. It must be a single at some point.
The first time I listened to this album – at home with lots of activities going on at the same time, so not very intense – it fell kind of flat and I thought that maybe this album wouldn’t be all that. But it only took me one more spin – this time through my headphones – for the album to get me hooked. Martin Sweet said that he had lots of songs lying around that didn’t necessarily fit into the Crashdïet mold and therefore they would be perfect for a side project because as he said, Crashdïet aren’t dead, it’s just sleeping for a while. I both agree and disagree. Sure, there are moments on this album that probably wouldn’t have felt right on a Dïet record, but on the other hand lots of stuff would have. See, with this album, it stands pretty clear who the main song writer in Crashdïet was. Most of the melodies and arrangements are very much Crashdïet, especially the vocals. And speaking of vocals, without being Pavarotti by any means, Sweet has a really cool voice and sings good – better than I thought he would – and on many occasions he reminds me not so little of Olliver Twisted. Which makes me wonder why Sweet just doesn’t take the part as a lead singer when / if Crashdïet breaks their hiatus instead of going through the lead singer search once more. So for fans who are waiting for a new Crashdïet record, in Sweet Creature you have a really good substitute and for the rest of the fans of this kind of music, do yourself a favor and check this album out – it’s a damn good one.